In North Carolina, when you separate from your child’s other parent, there are a lot of things to consider and plan for. In most cases, it is best to have a consent order entered as to your child custody arrangement, and any child support obligations. A custody order is required to enforce any agreements as to child custody.
In North Carolina, there are two kinds of child custody: legal child custody, and physical child custody. Legal child custody concerns decision making, and what parent is making such decisions as to where the minor child is attending school, what doctor and dental treatments the minor child will have, what religious practices the child will adhere to, and what extracurricular activities and events the child will participate in. Physical custody, on the other hand, concerns what parenting time each parent will spend with the minor children.
Most cases involving child custody are resolved by direct negotiations with the opposing party, and the remainder are resolved through the process of mediation. Most jurisdictions require the parties to attend a mandatory mediation before they may present their child custody case in front of a judge. Mediation is often successful as it gives the parties the ability to maintain a sense of control in resolving and settling their matter. In the event your spouse or partner is unreasonable, and unwilling to settle, your case may be forced into litigation, where the judge determines a child custody arrangement dependent upon the best interests of the minor child.
If you need to speak with a child custody attorney regarding a child custody matter, please contact Adkins Law. We are located in Huntersville NC and are happy to be of service.
Mediation is when a neutral third party helps facilitate an agreement between the parties. The mediator does not make decisions. The parties make the decisions, but the mediator helps them along. You can do private mediation before or after a complaint has been filed. You can address custody, child support, alimony, and property issues in mediation. Mediation is generally less expensive and not as time-consuming as court. The parties control the outcome. The entire process can be settled in one day, and you can leave a private mediation with a binding settlement document. The process is civil and dignified. It can set the tone for how the parties deal with each other from that point forward. If the parties are able to resolve the issues incident to their separation at mediation, typically they work together and treat each other better in subsequent dealings with children or otherwise. You do not necessarily need a lawyer for mediation, but one can help guide you in making educated decisions. A non-lawyer mediator will not know the law, or be permitted in providing you with legal advice. Without adequate representation, you could lose or waive rights you did not know you had - or agree to something that may not be in your best interests.
When addiction strikes, it can have detrimental effects on a marriage, any children involved, and extended family members. According to the American Association for Marriage and Family Therapy (AAMFT), fighting and stress caused by financial and emotional issues can set the couple up for a vicious cycle of substance abuse to cope with tension created by increased conflict. Domestic violence is often an issue in instances where alcohol abuse or substance abuse is present. Leaving a loved one due to substance abuse is difficult because of the years spent invested in building a relationship. Fortunately, there is hope for salvaging a relationship through the assistance of therapy and treatment.
Signs of Substance Abuse
The first step in repairing the damage created by substance abuse is to identify abuse as the root cause for marital problems. It is an emotional and cognitive struggle to come to the realization that a person’s loved one has resorted to using drugs or alcohol to the point of addiction. While it is nearly impossible to come up with a comprehensive list including all of a the signs that determine whether a spouse is suffering from an addition, below is a list of signs that can help determine if a person is abusing drugs or alcohol:
According to the AAMTF, substance abuse by a partner damages a relationship and these issues need to be treated too. If the underlying issues remain unchecked, it can lead to a relapse. These issues do not simply disappear once an individual has stopped drinking or the drug use has stopped. Eliminating drinking or drug use is only the starting point, once sobriety is attained, the presence of a supportive caring relationship can be one of the strongest factors in sustaining sobriety.
Separation leads to conflict. There is no way around it. In any separation, opposing parties have different wants and interests. They both feel they are entitled to certain things. The ultimate goal is getting resolution. The attorney’s role in separation is helping a party achieve resolution with favorable results. This is not always easy, and it is rare for either party to get exactly what they are seeking. Finding middle ground, and compromise is often key to reaching resolution. The important thing is understanding what you are likely entitled to, and what you are asking for – seeking more than you would likely end up with is a recipe for disappointment as you will feel like you are losing with every compromise.
Traditionally, negotiation strategy focuses on four basic tenets:
Traditional negotiation strategy is a very logical, rational way to jointly achieving conflict resolution. This approach is a problem-solving method that places a systematic emphasis on reaching an agreement. The problem is traditional, logical, rational negotiation strategy is not very effective – in practice it rarely works.
While traditional negotiation strategy is appealing to academics, they are objectively removed from the emotions that exist at a negotiation table. This approach makes the assumption that people are not animalistic, unreliable, and irrational beings. It is not easy, for example, to place objective value on time with your children, dividing the belongings in your home you have shared with your family, or paying support to the ex-spouse that cheated on you. Instead of rational thought, emotions come into play, which make it nearly impossible to not be concerned about the other side’s position. It is very clear – emotionally driven negotiations cannot be approached with rational bargaining methods.
So what is the solution to successful negotiation? How do I get the outcome I want and need from my own divorce? To begin with, emphasis must be removed from quid pro quo bargaining and problem solving. Instead, emotions, and learning to use them to your benefit, are central to effective negotiation. Emphasis needs to be placed on calming people down, establishing rapport, gaining trust, expressing the needs of your position, and empathetic persuasion. Ask questions like “What are you going through?” “How does that make you feel?” and “How am I supposed to do that?” Introducing emotion into a rational mindset can modify response. Emotions and instincts are much more powerful than logic and can influence rational thought. Changing the behavior and shifting the emotional environment of the other party can help you obtain the outcome you need.
So before you attempt to negotiate your separation, discuss with your attorney not just what makes sense logically in determining how to divide assets and debts, paying or receiving support, and a child custody schedule that works best for all parties, but discuss what emotional triggers and desire the other party has – try to figure out what they are really interested in and want they really want. Use that as leverage to get what you really want and need.
Conflict is often the path to great deals, and at some point every negotiation gets down to old-fashioned haggling. The important thing to remember is that to successfully negotiate, you have to be prepared – and that means better knowing and understanding the rational and emotional aspects of the other party.
To learn more about negotiation techniques and strategy, consider reading and reviewing the following books:
Getting To Yes: Negotiating Agreement Without Giving In, Roger Fisher and William Ury
Getting Past No: Negotiating With Difficult People, William Ury
Bargaining For Advantage, Richard Shell
Beyond Winning, Robert Mnookin
Start With NO, Jim Camp
No: The Only Negotiating System You’ll Ever Need, Jim Camp
Making Money Talk: How To Mediate Insured Claims And Other Monetary Disputes, J. Anderson Little
Wired For Conflict, Sondra S. Vansant
Never Split The Difference: Negotiating As If Your Life Depended On It, Chris Voss
Getting Ready To Negotiate, Roger Fisher and Danny Ertel
Getting Together: Building Relationships As We Negotiate, Roger Fisher
You Just Don’t Understand, Deborah Tannen
Talking From 9 To 5, Deborah Tannen
In A Different Voice, Carol Gilligan
Games People Play, Eric Berne
The Magic Of Rapport, Jerry Richardson
The Human Factor At Work, Eric Oliver
Influencing With Integrity, Genie Z. Laborde
Control Theory, William Glasser
Pre-Suasion: A Revolutionary Way To Influence And Persuade, Robert Cialdini
Influence: The Psychology Of Persuasion, Robert Cialdini
If you need to speak with a divorce / separation / family law attorney, contact Adkins Law. Adkins Law is located in Huntersville NC and primarily serves Mecklenburg County, Charlotte, and the Lake Norman area.